In the Kochie’s Business Builders program that I hosted on Sunday, I interviewed Matt Barrie of Freelancer.com, and Eddie Machaalani and Mitch Harper of BigCommerce, both fantastic Australian online business success stories.
Following the excellent Freelancer.com interview, below is the interview with BigCommerce’s founders. They recently raised US$15 million from US VC firm General Catalyst Partners in their first external funding round since they were founded.
The interview brings out the reasons for their success: great products and an intense focus on marketing. Their story offers great lessons for any online business.
Here are a few of the insights they shared in the interview:
* You can get raving fans for small business and you can make a bigger impact than with big business
* Their initial success was based on having an easy-to-use product supported by many marketing channels
* Email provides very cost-effective marketing – they would build their email list by providing very useful educational content for their customers, and only occasionally sending promotions which people on the email list were very receptive to
* They bought a video camera, a whiteboard, and markers, posted 4 minute videos on YouTube every few days, and have generated 800,000 views
* In addition to link-building they focused on providing educational information, and giving away free tools and free products
* They are big on Google AdWords, which drives a lot of their traffic
* They starting with a lot of keyword research, initially guessing and then refining and tweaking based on data on who is buying
* Their shopping cart gathered 10,000 customers in the first 18 months, rapidly iterating by taking and applying feedback from customers, quickly creating a mature, well-featured product
* They created their ‘F-commerce’ tool to sell on Facebook as they saw that was where online business was going
Below is an example of one of BigCommerce’s successful tutorials, on how to rank on long tail searches on Google.